Francis Sardauna in Katsina
Three governors from the North Eastern states of Nigeria and a governor from Niger Republic have expressed serious concern over the proliferation of arms, ammunition and hard drugs in the two countries.
The governors were Governor of Katsina State, Aminu Bello Masari; Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal; Governor of Zamfara State Dr. Muhammed Bello Matawalle and Governor of Maradi State in Niger Republic, Alhaji Zakari Oumarou.
The governors, who met yesterday in Maradi, Niger Republic, at the instance of the host governor, drew a correlation between the proliferation arms, ammunition and drugs and the rampaging banditry, kidnapping and cattle rusting that have become a recurring problem in North West part of Nigeria and Maradi in the Republic of Niger.
The governors, in a six-point communiqué read by Oumarou after the meeting, adopted a unified and coordinated approach in the ongoing fight against insurgency and armed banditry.
The meeting particularly commended “the alternative conflict resolution methods” started by Masari, Tambuwal and Mutawalle in their respective states in Nigeria.
The meeting agreed that the three governors from Nigeria “will consult with the highest authorities in Nigeria regarding the closure of boarder.”
Oumarou said: “The meeting reiterated the determination of the governors from Nigeria to join forces with their counterpart in Niger Republic to continue with the ongoing fight against terrorism and other organized crimes in the two countries.
“The meeting also commended the renewed efforts of the four governors in curtailing the menace of bandits in their various states. The meeting further observed with serious concerns the proliferation of arms, ammunition, hard drugs and calls for intensified actions to curb their menace in the two countries.”
He added that: “The governors appreciated the conflict resolution mechanism as started by the three governors from Nigeria. The meeting appealed for brotherly love and support to continue to be extended to refugees from Nigeria by the government of Maradi.”
He expressed the governor’s appreciation for the donation of relief materials to the refugees by the Dangote Foundation and other humanitarian organizations.
Masari, in his remarks during the opening session of the meeting, stated that the four governors in the two neighboring countries had agreed to work together to end banditry while Tambuwal commended the presidents of Nigeria and Niger Republic for their unflinching efforts towards restoring peace in the two countries.
He also expressed appreciation to the governor of Maradi for receiving refugees from Sokoto State who fled to the region in the height of the activities of bandits.
According to Matawalle, cattle rustling, kidnappings and other heinous crimes were bottlenecks to commercial activities that once flourished in the region.